Actually, I just had a chilling realization in regards to that. From chapter 62:

'"No," said the old wizard's voice. "I do not think so. The Death Eaters learned, toward the end of the war, not to attack the Order's families. And if Voldemort is now acting without his former companions, he still knows that it is I who make the decisions for now, and he knows that I would give him nothing for any threat to your family. I have taught him that I do not give in to blackmail, and so he will not try."

Harry turned back then, and saw a coldness on the old wizard's face to match the shift in his voice, Dumbledore's blue eyes grown hard as steel behind the glasses, it didn't match the person but it matched the formal black robes.'

I strongly suspect that Dumbledore burned Narcissa Malfoy so that the death eaters would stop targeting the families of Order members. Judging by his tone of voice and body language in this excerpt, this is probably the one action during the war that Dumbledore most regrets having had to do.

If I'm right, Harry will be in a difficult moral situation when he learns the truth. Was what Dumbledore did justified? On the one hand, torturing a mostly innocent person to death is deplorable no matter how you slice it. On the other, if that was the only way to stop many other innocents from being tortured to death...

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The theory I've been going with for a long time is that Dumbledore killed Narcissa accidentally while disposing of Tom Riddle's diary - he thought the house was empty and used Fiendfyre - and then later rationalized her death for the reasons you gave above.

0Oscar_Cunningham9yHarry only promised that if he found out who did it he would take them as his enemy. Bad things don't happen to Harry's enemies, weird things happen to Harry's enemies. I don't think Harry will have any moral qualms about making weird things happen to Dumbledore.
7Fergus_Mackinnon9yAnother thought which occurred, is that Amelia Bones killed Narcissa in revenge for the Death Eater's killing of her family members, then Dumbledore claimed responsibility in order to send a message to the Death Eater's and Malfoy to discourage further attacks on the Order's families, and prevent Lucius from finding any evidence of Amelia's responsibility, which might have allowed him to remove one of Dumbledore's more powerful allies. He probably would have had to have been careful to give the impression that he would be willing to do so 'again' to the other Death Eaters if he wanted them to stop, though, unless Lucius cares a lot more about his allies than shown so far, or at least made some threat against Draco, who Lucius seems to care about. EDIT: I was wondering how killing Lucius' wife would provide leverage over the other Death Eaters when I realised something rather obvious in retrospect, Dumbledore is the Headmaster of Hogwarts. He already has plenty of leverage, doesn't he? If need be he can hold all the school age children of Death Eaters and their allies hostage, or expell them, denying them good education and potentially giving them a bad reputation. If the parents withdrew the children and sent them abroad though, they could grow up without the knowledge of local politics provided by a hogwarts education (including personal knowledge of everyone important in your age group, which in such a small society, not-having would likely be a big disadvantage.)

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9

by Oscar_Cunningham 1 min read9th Sep 2011725 comments


(The HPMOR discussion thread after this one is here.)

The previous thread is over the 500-comment threshold, so let's start a new Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread.  This is the place to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter fanfic and anything related to it. The latest chapter as of 09/09/2011 is Ch. 77.

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.  The author page is the central location for information about updates and links to HPMOR-related goodies, and AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author's Notes.

As a reminder, it's often useful to start your comment by indicating which chapter you are commenting on.

Spoiler Warning:  this thread is full of spoilers.  With few exceptions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, without warning or rot13.  More specifically:

You do not need to rot13 anything about HP:MoR or the original Harry Potter series unless you are posting insider information from Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

If there is evidence for X in MOR and/or canon then it's fine to post about X without rot13, even if you also have heard privately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that "Eliezer said X is true" unless you use rot13.